Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Bad Idea for a Novel!!!

I have an idea for a book. Tell me what you think!

Protagonist – A Jewish Pharisee named Bill who loves God, but really fell into the ministry in order that he not disappoint his parents.
Bill is a good man who truly believes that by strictly upholding the tradition Jewish Law that he is both honoring God and helping people.

Plot - At some point Bill hears about this man, Jesus of Nazareth. He’s intrigued, but upon discussing it with friends in the ministry he is convinced that this Jesus person is against the established religious order of the day and there for, Bill and his livelihood.

Feeling scared and threatened Bill finds himself swooped up with a group of local religious leaders. The group comes up with a plan to try and trap Jesus with the Law of Moses. They trick a woman into a situation where she is committing adultery and the group then drags her if front of Jesus. (You know the story). Anyway so Bill is one of the last to leave. He is deeply affected by the words of Jesus, his presence, the righteousness with lack of condemnation.

He knows he’s missed something huge when it came to true meaning of all of these rules he’s spent his life studying, enforcing, and loving.

He leaves shaken to the core of his very being. As weeks and months go by Bill struggles with his experience with Jesus and the adulterous women. He tries to somehow make it fit with everything he had ever been taught, or more so, taught to others himself.

Through a series of events Bill once again gets swept up in a mob mentality and finds himself in the courtyard at Jesus “trial”. Bill rationalizes his actions. How he got to this point, why it was not only right, but necessary that Jesus be crucified. Bill was a Pharisee, he loved what he did, it was also his job; it would be crazy to do anything to go against something he had spent his life thinking was honoring God and helping people, all just because he had experienced a moment of “fuzzies”.

He debates - the best decisions are made with a rational mind, not based on emotional whims.

Bill thinks that this is upholding the law. Something he was always told is perfect, Godly and important. Something he had been taught how to interrupt by those before him. For generations scholars and religious leaders had discussed the Law, and everyone seemed to be of one mind, that this Jesus was not in line with it.

This is the right way to do things. This is the way things have always been done. This is the way things will always be done.

Thoughts – So yeah that’s a very rough outline.

Basically it’s a commentary on the modern church mentality, the struggle with change that seems to plague both religious institutions and the individuals that populate them.

But it’s also about choice. It’s easy to make a choice when someone else has interpreted both the options and the outcomes for us, but what were to happen if we had to find God for ourselves, as opposed to having him presented to us on a silver platter? A platter almost always presented to us with the all the “trimmings” that consist of that particular presenters interpretations and traditions.

Would you be able to tell if something was God if no one pointed it out to you?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Back in the Swing of Things

OK, I know. I’m a slacker. I get it.

Let me just start off by apologizing to my adoring public. Last month, and most of this month, have, so far, been ridiculous disappointments in terms of this blog. I am truly sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused you. That being said a lot has happened for me since we last talked, most of it really good too.

I’ve always had a hard time with balance. I’m pretty good at going all out for short periods of time, but when it comes to longevity and consistency I find myself wanting. For a while there I felt like the blog was going great. I felt like I updated it regularly, and with a wide variety of topics presented in multiple formats.

I feel like I’ve had to trade in some of that single mindedness in order to… well, live.

A couple awesome things have happened lately; awesome but somewhat time consuming; time consuming, but totally worth it.

I got a job. I know. Crazy right? Well you can all stop calling me a lazy slacker.
Now I’m a wannabe lazy slacker. So far, so good. I like the people, enjoy the work (for the most part), love the commute, and really like “Hungry Hump Day”. I do miss sitting at JJ Bean with loved ones, drinking lattes, and dreaming about being a fisherman in 1930’s, but it’s nice to be able to pay for my lattes with bills rather than nickels and dimes.

I also met a girl. I don’t wanna go into a lot of detail on here, but she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, she’s ridiculously hot, and she laughs when I fart. If wanna know more just remember it’s none of your business.

So I guess my big struggle right now is finding a balance. I love blogging. It’s something I want to keep doing, ever more so than before. So this is my commitment to you.

The videos will be coming back very soon. There WILL be more blogs, at least 2 plus one video blog every week. I also will be doing some very special for Alan Schram the winner of “The Great Blog Off 2.0”

“Blog Off 3.0” has started with 2 more competitors, Chrissy and Amanda, so make sure you check them and the face book group out.

It’s going to be a great round, and I have some ideas that I’m really excited about, so I’ll see you guys soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

White Lies - Part One

Does anyone else ever struggle with wanting to be an honest yet positive person?

I just watched an excellent short called “validation”. Jeff Hawker posted it on his blog and I highly recommend it as well.

The lead character is basically nothing but positive all of the time. In the film he comes across as completely sincere, and genuine, however I get the feeling like if a person had his traits in real life most people would want to punch him in the face after about 10 minutes.

In real life is it that we hate non-stop positivity, or is it that we just think it’s impossible, and therefore hate insincerity?

In “Validation” the main characters incessant positivity bring about favor for both him and the people he interacts with. I don’t think real life is far from that. I’m not a fan of Oprah Winfrey, her housewife salt water taffy loving cult or “The Secret”, but I do believe that words are a powerful thing.

You can create, or destroy with words; you can lift up or cut down. The bible uses the metaphor of a snakes venom for some peoples words, yet the bible also says that God used words to bring the entire universe into being.

A classmate of mind had decided to pursue a career in the entertainment industry after high school. His parting words to me in my year book were “Tony, when I get big and famous I’ll make sure to forget all the little people, but not you because you’re F’ing huge”. The same person also once said “you fail at life”. Meaning, I suppose, that if life were a game, or a task, that I, at the age or 16, or soon there after, would have failed at it. Not the nicest things to say, and to be honest I’m pretty sure I’ll remember them for the rest of my life. Every time I get worried about my future I think about that phrase “failing at life”. It brings me back to all of the insecurities and uncertainties that filled my, and most other peoples adolescencent years.

On the other side of the coin someone else once said “Tony, I like the fact that you always speak respectfully of your parents”. When she said it I thought, either this person doesn’t know me well at all, or I’ve been lying to her, a lot. I thought about what she said often. It weighed heavily on me, but more than anything it gave me a standard that I wanted to live up to. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I always try and speak positively about my parents now, and I can say that it’s as a direct result of that comment.

Words are certainly powerful.

I want so desperately to be like the lead in “Validation”; to walk around bringing joy and life to people; to bring real and genuine positivity to every situation that I’m a part of, but I more often than not struggle to find the good in everything. Some things are easy; if I go see a really bad band I can say something like “man your drummer is solid”. I can leave out the fact that the guitars were out of tune and that their singer sounds like a tone deaf version of Brad Roberts (lead singer of Crash Test Dummies).

Some conversations are decidedly more difficult, so much so that I find it hard to see anything positive in them.

Is it OK to lie if it’s to spare some ones feelings?

Check back for part two in a couple of days to read more of my thoughts on the topic.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kirstie Alley

Warm smiles, gitty laughter, good coffee and great friends.

I have a place I go nearly everyday. I’ve been doing so for almost 5 months now. It’s my home away from home. It’s where I go when I’m feeling like crap and I need to be cheered up. It’s where I go when I’m loving life whole heartedly, so I can share it with friends. It’s everything that was appealing to me about the TV series “Cheers”, without a massive liver failure, or having to put up with that awful Kirstie Alley.

Not everyone knows my name here, but enough people that I feel important, and few enough that there are people that don’t know who I am.

I like to think those people try and guess who I am, and why I seem to think that I’m so important to all the staff.

“Who is that handsome, chubby man that all the staff greet with smiles, high fives, and a drink that they have ready before he even steps in the front door? He looks like a fat Brad Pitt”.

The concept of anonymity never appealed to me. Okay that’s not true, maybe it did in my slightly criminal past, but that was strictly a matter of convenience. Most of my life I’ve been about as subtle as a swift kick in the junk.

I’ve always wondered if this was a reflection of a large self-consciousness issue I have.

To that end I’m not even sure if I have an issue with self-consciousness. I know I did, and to combat this problem I started to tell myself and everyone I met how great I was.

I think at some point I started to believe it.

As Karl Pilkington would say “I tricked my mind into thinking it”; technically an oxymoron, but a definite possibility.

I’ve never been one for the middle ground and as such I now either float between self doubt, or supreme self confidence. I can either do nothing right, or I perfect everything I try immediately.

Sometimes both even come out in the same sentence. I just typed that I think I look like a “fat Brad Pitt”.

Reading back on what I’ve written I realize that I come across as a bit …crazy, no crazy isn’t the right word…. Kirstie Alley. Yep that’s it. One minute she’s nowhere to be found, in a cave somewhere binging on Ding Dongs, and Ho Ho’s, the next she’s the spokeswomen for Jenny Craig with all confidence of a naked child at the beach, only to be fired from the job after packing on the equivalent weight of said child.

I come off as a Kirstie Alley and I’m OK with that.

Maybe I’m okay with comparing myself to someone I hate so much only because I know in reality just how awesome I am.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Champagne Pyramid of Complacency

“Life’s too short!” My mom yelled as I left the house this morning.

Life’s too short for exactly what?

Is life’s too short to work a job that you hate?

Maybe Life is so short that we need to work a job we hate, so that we have money to do the things we want to do.

I’m pretty sure most people aren’t doing what they would like to do with their lives.

I’m sure a lot of people are content with their lives. They work a job that they don’t mind, for a reasonable wage, and they see it as a fair trade. Sadly I think that has become the goal a lot of people strive for. I say sadly, but right now I would love to have a job that I could tolerate for a fair wage.

At what point does this arrangement go from something we feel we can justify because of our youth, to a way of life; maybe not just in regards to our employment.

Maybe it’s a trickle down effect, like a champagne pyramid of complacency. What if it makes its way down to the base of that pyramid; the thing that our whole life is based on?

What would happen if we took the same attitude to our relationships that most of us take to employment?

I get the feeling that a lot of people think “I can tolerate my job. It pays me well enough. Sure there’s some thing else I would rather do, but that’s a big risk, and I don’t think I’m willing to take it”. I say that because I’ve asked “What would you do with your life if you had a million dollars”, and not once has someone said, “Exactly what I’m doing now”.

Can you imagine if that was how I felt about my non existent girlfriend? My Friends? Or my Family?

What about my Church?

So what’s the secret? Never settling for anyone, or any place, always jumping around thinking that there’s always something better?

Maybe the answer is to put those things before you, base your happiness on those around you, and what you contribute to them.

I don’t really have an answer here. I guess the question “can I make myself happy by putting others first?” is inherently flawed. If I was truly just interested in putting others before me would I be so selfish to ask the question “how can I make myself happy?”

That doesn’t stop all of us from asking it though does it?